By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Drinking beer as the smell of smoking meat and burning wood fills the air is how Mike McGee likes to relax. And he’ll be able to do plenty of relaxing this weekend.
McGee of Mac Exteriors & Fencing is competing with the company’s barbecue team at this year’s Blazathon. The annual barbecue competition, in its 25th year, will benefit Judith Karman Hospice.
His team is one of 50 from around the south competing.
McGee is back for his second year, this time armed with a massive custom-built smoker he constructed after his was stolen following last year’s Blazathon.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to custom build my own smoker,” McGee said. “Three months and $7,000 later, here you go,” he said, gesturing toward the black behemoth capable of cooking two whole pigs at a time. McGee said his favorite meat to smoke is chicken because it is easy to do and never fails to please. Other meats like brisket are more difficult to handle.
“My brisket today could be perfect, my brisket tomorrow could be horrible,” McGee said.
Barbecue sauce runs in the family’s veins. McGee said his uncles began smoking with and learning from the Kansas-based Oklahoma Joe’s barbecue team in Stillwater. McGee caught the bug years ago and began smoking meat with his uncles. Blazathon will conclude Saturday. Teams must cook chicken, pork, brisket and ribs to be judged.